Wild Waves & Flooding

Eastern Lake Erie Nov 15 2020
With Covid-19 still spreading out of control across much of the world, and no real opportunities to travel for months, this historically potent autumn storm on the Great Lakes was a welcome treat for me. The forecast was unlike anything I've seen before on Lake Erie. I ended up going to a few of my favorite spots along the shore whenever a southwest wind blows through. The waves at Crystal beach were as big as I've ever seen them, but the big problem was the storm surge flooding. The winds blew water from the western side of the lake to the eastern side, similar to a storm surge during a hurricane.



The wave height forecast - Between 25 to 30 feet! I don't ever recall seeing this forecast map this intense on Lake Erie.
This graph shows how much displacement of the water they were expecting. You can clearly see how the water was expected to be pushed from one end of the lake to the other. The scale is maxed out at over 7 feet of water rise (not including waves).
Video from the day. I started at Crystal Beach to film the waves and surfers, then continued on to Fort Erie, then Port Colburne.



Crystal Beach during these storms becomes a popular spot for the hearty surfers that are willing to brave the cold temperatures and howling winds.
The surfers waiting for the perfect timing to jump into the water.
We measured a maximum wind gust of 116 km/h (72 mp/h) and I'm certain that those gust got higher later in the day. I ran into several other local storm chasers throughout the day.



The waves and surge really start to inundate the parking lot at Crystal Beach. The sun sets pretty early this time of year, so much of this storm hit after dark.
Storm surge flooding the parking lot. I've never seen the water got high enough to totally flood this area. I had to abandon the area swiftly or risk getting my car stuck or overwhelmed by the water.
Waves breaking amongst the trees in a park in Fort Erie. This is very close to where Lake Erie empties into the Niagara River, and is a choke point where the water ca really rise up. Most of the roads near the water were closed and/or flooded.